By JOEY SAMUEL
Just when the Colorado Rapids needed a win the most to hold serve in the Western Conference playoff race, they came up short once again.
Despite a late goal off a corner kick from defender Drew Moor, the Rapids' winless streak was stretched to five games as they tied the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-1, in front of their home fans. Chris Wondolowski scored the goal for the Earthquakes when he pounced on the rebound of Khari Stephenson's long-distance shot.
Coming into the game having lost three straight games in league play and two more in the CONCACAF Champions League, Colorado was in desperate need of three points to hold on to one of the four wild card playoff spots. But even despite that sense of urgency and the return of midfielder Jamie Smith, the Rapids put on a mostly lackluster performance that left them vulnerable to being passed by in the standings.
Neither team came out strong and there was hardly a chance at either end of the pitch for the first quarter of an hour. But that all changed when San Jose's Khari Stephenson attempted one of his trademark long-range shots. Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens managed to save it, but Chris Wondolowski was there to finish the rebound for his tenth goal of the season.
The Rapids failed to respond well to the goal, and it was an uneventful rest of the first half, save for a few half-chances. In the second half, Colorado coach Gary Smith made a few changes in an attempt to breathe life into his team. Brian Mullan came in for Jamie Smith, and Macoumba Kandji entered for Omar Cummings.
Those changes appeared to work, as the Rapids would find an equalizer soon after. Jeff Larentowicz connected on a volley off a corner kick in the 70th minute, but it was deflected away. It fell to central defender Drew Moor, who slotted it past Jon Busch to make it 1-1.
Both teams then appeared to wake up, and at the end it seemed like one team would find a winner. Colorado had the best chances late as both Mac Kandji and Caleb Folan had attempts on goal saved by Busch, but they failed to find the winner that they so desperately needed as the match ended at 1-1.
In the end, Colorado were left wondering how they missed a great opportunity at home to solidify their spot in the playoff race. Wins by D.C. United and New York on Saturday made the Rapids' situation even more precarious, as the Rapids have played more games than the teams below them. San Jose, on the other hand, blew what might have been one last chance to save their season.
Nice to see these thugs losing their mojo
The Rapids are fading fast. Do they have the midfield to make another run? They looked awful in Champions League. Poor American representative.
Yeah – I didn’t think Cheivo was going to be creative enough to score with the man advantage. But they did it in the end – super sub Moscardelli scores the winner for the second game in a row.
Bradley looked solid & confident and fit well into the short passing Cheivo game. Took corners and free kicks. But compared to last game, it looks like he’s been told to stay defensive and not get in the way of the attacking mids & forwards. Which is ok – he played well as the deep midfield distributor.
Oops, looking at the highlights, i see that Chievo was up a man. No wonder they were so dominant. I only saw the last 30 minutes or so.
I must say, not watching much Serie A before, the acting is truly on a level i have never consistently seen before. These lguys go down like they were shot in the back or as if a grenade exploded and sent their frail bodies hurtling into the air. It’s like a professional wrestling match.
Chievo looked really good, very dominant.
Nice win for Chievo, there. MBshould have strengthened his position, being part of both goals.
At very end, nice long pass by bradley to right wing who crosses and finds Moscardelli’s head for the winner. Bradley involved in both goals & a good controlled (but defensive) game. He looks like he’s found his spot.
Bradley part of the build on the second goal! A very nice lofted ball to the wing who settled and crossed for the goal.
Chievo dominating right now. Bradley fitting in well, making safe, smart passes. Nothing spectacular, but doesn’t look out of place.
Interesting – Bradley taking corners and free kicks. At 72 min a nice bradley corner finds a cheivo head & ties game at 1-1. Bradley looks good, short passing & almost all accurate, very controlled play, but few forays forward. Cheivo style looks very controlled & defensive – not much creativity there.
Bradley with the assist! Takinfg the corner? Never seen that before. Wonderfully struck ball. I didn’t even know that was in in his skillset
20 min in and not much going on in Cheivo match, but Bradley looking much better than last game. Controlled, good passing, good defense. Not much going forward yet.
Cheivo Verona v Genoa coming on soon. Hope MB will make the field. Coach seems patient with his new players. He was asked after win last week vs Napoli if his midfield was ready: “it is not easy. Vacek, Bradley and Cruzado do not yet know fully Chievo. But I think it’s normal. It takes time. They, however, have important qualities, and we will make comfortable. In twenty days are convinced that all three will be ‘inside’ to Chievo.